Via email October 28, 1997
I can't even believe that this referendum talk has gone this far. There was a time when ASUA could be relied on to ward off such ridiculous ideas as a fee to have a student union. Now, I log on to my alma mater's newspaper, and I find that ASUA has become a ward of the administration, and has actually taken upon itself to champion the administration's cause. Jefferson said, "I hold that a little revolution now and then is a good thing." I think it's time for students to get the torches and pitch forks and descend upon the cozy offices above the ASUA Bookstore, because those who would call themselves the leaders of the student body have become schills of the administration - it would be amusing and downright entertaining if it weren't happening at the financial expense of students.
From what I can gather, UA students are being told that there is no
other alternative to funding a new union except for a fee. You are being
told this by children - pretenders to a throne of student leadership who
want you to think they've got all the facts at their fingertips. In fact,
they don't have a sense of history, and probably don't even realize that
they're being played like banjoes at a hoedown by the administration, which
is simply looking for the path of least resistance - student wallets -
to pay for the union. For anyone who might be reading and is in the least
bit interested in the historical precedent that students would be setting
by voting for this fee, consider for a moment how many times in the past
in Arizona the universities have funded similar projects, in worse financial
times that we're in now, without even considering a direct fee to students.
A little history from an old fart (I was a freshman at the UA in 1986.
I was an Arizona Students' Association delegate for the UA in 1990. I was
editor-in-chief of the Wildcat in 1991. I was executive director of the
Arizona Students Association, 1994-96. I've been around the block at least
a couple of times). Free of charge:
This fee is neither inevitable, unavoidable, nor even well-conceived. Under this plan, students would begin to pay the fee years before the doors of the union would open. Thousands of students would be paying a union fee - non-refundable, unlike any other fee ever voted on by students - without enjoying the benefit of the new union. When the students voted to establish the Recreation Center fee, it was well-understood that the fee was refundable, and it would not be implemented until the doors of the structure opened.
Hell, no one even knows what the union is going to look like. No blueprints have been presented or agreed upon. Who would write an $80 per year blank check for a union that no architect has even planned yet? It's like buying a car before it's been designed, much less displayed on a showroom floor.
THE BOTTOM LINE IS THIS: DON'T BE DUPED BY OVERLY-AMBITIOUS STUDENT LEADERS WHO HAVE A BAD CASE OF LEGACY SYNDROME. THEY DON'T HAVE A GRASP OF THE POLICY ISSUES INVOLVED, THEY DON'T HAVE A GRASP OF THE HISTORY THAT'S INVOLVED, AND THEY DON'T HAVE A GRASP OF HOW BADLY THIS WILL HURT STUDENTS FINANCIALLY.
KILL THE FEE NOW, AND THE UNIVERSITY WILL BE FORCED TO COME UP WITH CREATIVE OPTIONS. IT HAS NO CHOICE BUT TO BUILD A NEW UNION. DON'T LET THE UNIVERSITY OR ASUA BULLY YOU INTO BELIEVING THAT YOU HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO PAY FOR IT WITH A DIRECT STUDENT FEE.
Paul G. Allvin